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Unread 02-04-2012, 11:14 PM   #1
jssaustintx
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Grout, caulk, and sealant dilemmas

I'm so sorry to ask questions that has been covered in multiple threads, but I am having trouble applying all the info to my own tile situation! Patience and expertise are appreciated!

Our tile installer grouted the seam/joint of tub meets shower wall (subway tile). Yes, I know, strike one. It's Warm Gray unsanded grout. Thin crack visible 1 week in at joint. So...Let the questions begin!

1) Do I really have to remove the grout? Installer actually told my BF to caulk ON TOP of his grout a couple of days after it had a chance to cure! Is that an option at all- or strike 2?

2) I have to order 4 tube minimum for the matching color and texture caulk at big box, which per tube is already more than double the cost of unsanded white (this is siliconized latex I think?). I have also heard that the caulk is shiny which might look weird in gray. Could I just use white caulk at the tub/wall seam? What is typically used at this seam with subway tile (the seam/joint is probably >1/8 all the way around) Sanded caulk? Unsanded? Acrylic? 100% silicone? Clear? White? Warm Gray? Can any of these go on top of the grout I have? (sorry, that's a repeat question-can't blame a girl for not wanting to scrap grout!)

3)What about the vertical seams where subway meets subway at 90 degrees/alcove corners? Does that need to be caulked, too? See #2 for color and texture Qs again!

More grout issues
I have found a few places with holes in the sanded grout on the floor (1" glazed white hex). Installer told me to make a little paste of left over grout and smear it in there. There are also some "murky" grout lines/smudgy tiles that someone else told me a NON acidic grout haze remover will take care of. And I still need to seal the grout (am not using bathroom yet).

4) What goes first and what is the wait time between each? I am thinking: fill holes, wait 1-2 days; use haze remover, 1-2 days; seal grout??

Which brings me to sealant...
5) water based or solvent based and why?

Sorry to be so clueless. We are DIY to a certain point but didn't trust ourselves to do the tile. I am pretty frustrated though by the thought of having to remove grout on a job I JUST paid for- but if thats the consensus, I'll do it. TIA for any responses!
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Unread 02-05-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
Levi the Tile Guy
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Welcome Jess,

1) Strike 2, however removing non sanded grout shouldn't take long at all

2) I would use 100% silicone warm grey caulk. You probably won't be able to get it at your big box, but whatever tile store sells your brand of grout (I am assuming Mapei because of the warm grey) should stock it.

3) Yes

4) Correct, but read the directions on the sealer some say to wait 72 hours. You will need to scrape a little grout out around those holes though in order to get a big enough area for the new grout to stick. Be careful not to damage your pan if a surface applied waterproofer was used.

5) I only use oil based sealers. The solvent based is breathable and will allow the grout to breath and allow water that may get under the tile to escape.



6) Why are you having to do these things yourself? If you just paid an installer he should be there fixing all of your issues.
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Unread 02-05-2012, 09:53 AM   #3
jssaustintx
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Re:

Thanks, Levi. I was afraid of that. So I'm kinda disappointed, but can't say I didn't see it coming. Good call on the Mapei. I'll see what I can find.

So as for #6, why me? Two reasons:

1) apparently tile guy (TG) and the boyfriend (BF)discussed and BF approved- or at least didn't say otherwise- since we didn't know about the caulk ourselves yet.

2) I did something to TG I have never done to ANYONE. I bounced my check... long story how that happened, but wrote check at 12pm, realized 6am next day my banking error (had $ but in another account), called my bank and TG later that a.m. to alert. His bank reran the check THAT day, but wouldn't release funds to him until MY BANK faxed them that the funds were there this time- even tho my online was already showing cleared check. They didn't tell me re: fax until 4pm tho' and my bank had closed. I had my bank fax first thing next morning, but before that all got settled, TG starts texting me everytime a fee posts to his account for his bounces.

So- my fault? 100%. Feel like a total jerk.

Should you wait for a check to clear your account before you start using your debit card for funds not showing in your account yet- ummm- I would. The funds were there less than 48 hrs after I wrote the check. BF insisted we would pay all fees and I agreed. Luckily, in the end we got fees waived (my bank even waived my fee for doing it w/out my even asking because I have NEVER done this before but still a jerk, I know).

More than you wanted to know, lol, but here's why I tell the tale. As a TG, would you come and fix grout/caulk lines in this scenario? Or good riddance? Yeah I'm thinking the latter even though we paid top dollar. I think my bank slip means I pay the price.
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Unread 02-05-2012, 10:16 AM   #4
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Jess, your tile guy was paid, eventually. It was an honest error on your part and you have admitted it to the TG. That doesn't change the contract you have with him, nor his warranty on the work he performed for you. You can offer a bonus or tip for his aggravation and inconvenience regarding the bounced check. A case of his favorite beer, or bottle of his brand of single malt may be sufficient. Cash works, too.
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Unread 02-05-2012, 10:25 AM   #5
Levi the Tile Guy
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Jess,

In TG defense I usually grout my corners. If I caulk them I use 100% silicone matched to grout color. I do though explain my choice with my customer and assure them I will come back and fix if/when grout cracks. I personally think grout looks better. I won't grout with ns grout though because it will for sure crack, and I always caulk my tile to other material transitions.
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Unread 02-05-2012, 10:56 AM   #6
jssaustintx
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Re:

Wow- you guys are fast! TY, TY, TY!

Great suggestions, Bob! Thanks for understanding the honest mistake part.

Levi, hmmm.. interesting cuz I really don't want caulk on the corners- agreed, grout looks better. They look great right now, but they are ns.

1) Are you saying you would use sanded for just corners? Even if you used ns for the tile (its subway so pretty thin grout lines)?

2) Would it be a terrible idea to wait and see what happens at the corners and just replacing the seam/joint at the tub/wall?

3) If I should address corners now, are you recommending go ahead and scrape out and caulk since ns grout was used? Or regrout with sanded?

Thanks again for the consulting!

Jess

PS I am thinking about doing the scraping myself and just asking TG to caulk- for $ (CASH, lol).
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Unread 02-05-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re:

One more question- are oil based and solvent based the same? If not- which are you recommending?
Thanks-
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Unread 02-05-2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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Jess,

You can order one tube of what you need from ColorRiteInc.com in over 140 differnt colors in both sanded and unsanded. Tell them I sent you.

You may find it helpful to read our handy dandy caulking tutorial some really nice guy wrote.
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Unread 02-05-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
Levi the Tile Guy
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yes solvent bases is what I meant by oil based sealer. I would scrape out the ns grout and caulk. Sanded grout probably won't stick either. The truth is though besides the cosmetic problems with the cracked grout it isn't going to hurt any thing.
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Unread 02-05-2012, 08:10 PM   #10
jssaustintx
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Talking

Thanks, Levi. I think... I'm gonna think about it. I don't wanna be nit-picky, ya know? That said, everything I've read sounds like caulking is industry standard, but I've seen enough posts to know I'm not alone either. Wonder what the disconnect is?

JB Tile Forum has given me enough info to make an informed decision and I really appreciate it. Thanks to the pros!
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